tv Tavis Smiley WHUT September 12, 2011 8:30am-9:00am EDT
tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. lauren manning on her new memoir "unmeasured stricter "it tells the story of remarkable recovery after the world trade center attack 10 years ago. also tonight, a conversation with the founder and ceo of shoes, blake mycoskie. for every pair of shoes they sell, they'd never date a pair to a child in need. we are glad you joined us.
>> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where wal-mart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, help tavis improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: lauren manning was a executive at cantor fitzgerald
on the morning of the attacks of 9/11. burned on over 80% upper body, if she spent over a month in a drug induced coma. 10 years later, she is back with a memoir about her journey. the text is called "unmeasured strength." it is good to see you. >> thank you, it is great to be here. tavis: you talk about the fact that the first-year anniversary was difficult for you to. we get that. how are you processing this 10th anniversary? >> it is interesting. at once it seems long ago, yet there is this an ever-growing presents to it. it never seems to be far away. i need only look down at myself to note that the markets will always be there. fortunately, i feel that we as a community and a country have really been able to move forward and in many ways.
tavis: when you look at your own body every day and you have that constant reminder with you on your personage, how you navigate past that? >> i think that i knew i needed to learn to inhabit this new place that would be mine for the rest of my life. i made a decision that living with the imperfect, with something that was probably far easier to do than any alternative. i took the chance and choice i was given to move forward and i did. i have accepted what has happened to me. i do not dwell on it. i was given a break that day that many were not. tavis: give me and the viewers some sense of how one navigates past the bitterness. through no fault of your own, you had done nothing to bin laden or who ever was behind
these attacks. you find yourself having to deal with this for the rest of your life. how do you navigate past, how you deal with the bitterness,. >> there have always been good guys and bad guys. i have chosen to live a life of hope and belief that things can and do get better. i was angry, sure, but anchor will not do much beyond a certain level of motivation with you are faced with tough challenges in life. tavis: i mentioned it bin laden a moment ago. would you share with me how you felt when you saw the news coming from president obama that bin laden had been killed. >> i felt, certainly, a sense of relief that we got one of them. certainly the kingpin, as it were, but like a cancer with many cells, unfortunately, i do
not believe the battle is over. it was a good day for our country and for many others around the world. tavis: what would you do in terms of commemorating or celebrating -- you tell me the appropriate word -- what are your plans for the actual day of 9/11? >> as i always do, my husband and i will be at the cantor fitzgerald memorial. you used two words -- celebrating in remembering. at this point, it is a combination of celebrating those in the lives they lead and remembering the struggle they went through that day. at the same time, to see children grown and husbands and wives and those who were lost moving on with their allies means a great deal to all of us. tavis: since you mentioned cantor fitzgerald, you're the former managing director there and partner, for that matter.
you are no longer with the firm, but you say you every year spend the anniversary with the cantor fitzgerald family. many of us saw this huge story just days ago in the "new york times" about t ow this company which lost 658 or so employees, a massive number of employees lost -- the company wiped out basically when 9/11 happened 10 years ago -- and the remarkable story of how they rebuilt the company 10 years later. did you see the story? if you did, what do you think of that? >> we all remain close. certainly those views who remain did an extraordinary job. my husband was one of them. he went to work there and help them rebuild. i do what i need to to avenge my friends and colleagues who are gone. they did an extraordinary job. they showed truly what the american spirit is all about and i am incredibly proud of my
company. tavis: take me back to those early days. you talk about in harrowing detail in the book, but what do you recall about those early days of trying to move past a body that has been burned over 80% of that -- of it. >> the first time i looked in the mirror was truly the dead reckoning with a body and a life that will never be the same. i made a choice, as i think i have learned to do every day, to really make it count. what i realized is that the custom tattoos i have, as it were, are not what i am about. they are not truly meet. i, in essence, was both truly mass as i was healing, but i
masked myself and believed these would be better. i did not want pity. i did not want people to feel sorry for me. i wanted them to join me in my effort to get better. it was kind of giving in to give back. their spirits and their positive attitudes helped. it has been a long journey, but i am just thrilled to have this opportunity to reflect 10 years later. tavis: you rest a moment ago your husband. you are, if nothing else in this book, frank and fororright. you have been honest about the fact prior to the attack 10 years ago, few had not been married terribly long, you and your husband were questioning the state of your marriage. then this happened. tell me how that impacted your marriage. you're questioning parts of those planes hitting the towers. >> certainly, we had entered what was a troubled spot in our marriage. we certainly love one another,
but as i think many of us do, we were dealing with the -- dwelling on the small vanities and superficiality of what we thought could be and should be the right way to do things and the wrong way. what i'd learned, and i think what we learned in a moment, was that stripping away all the artifice, all that truly matter is the love and passion that you have with your spouse, with your family, and with those that loved you. take that moment and truly engaged in what matters. we have tried to live our marriage vows. tavis: you have since 911 added another child to your family, but at the time of the attacked in years ago, you had a 10.5 month old child. how does a mother, again, move forward when you are dealing with this horrific incident? you have a baby, literally.
>> well, he was first and foremost the reason why i decided to live. he was really my god-like going forward. i was very concerned. i was concerned how he might see me. he might reject me. one of the most poignant moments for me in my life will always be the day that we were reunited after i was eventually drawn out of the, and beyond the state of dire infection, i was permitted to see him. i will never forget that day. i asked my parents to bring a small amount of perfume so that he might remember me. they put a small amount on my bandages and as they wheeled me out to the highway, there was my little guy, who is now walking, coming toward me. at first he did not recognize me.
i felt a drop in my soul, as it were. he looked up and a smile and across his face. he knew it was his mom. we're finally together again. tavis: after all that you had to go through to get your backed -- your life back on line again, the decision to have another child? >> you know, a lot was taken from many that day. one of the many things we had hoped was to have another child. that became a focus. when i was able to focus on it after a very critical timemef recovery in thought, this should be easy compared to what i have been through. but, alas, it was not to be. we literally spent years -- disappointment, hardship, and a lot of other trials that many trying to have a child go through. we were braced october 22, nearly two years ago, with the
arrival of jagger thomas. he has been a great addition. tavis: this is not just a story of survival, this is by your own admission a story of transformation. the survival part i get. what is the story of transformation you want us to get? >> i think the story of transformation is about who we are as human beings. we all exist within a physical space and define beauty relative to what we are taught or believe or the media may portray we should look at or should be doing. there are so many barriers in a sense we erect for ourselves. what i learned through my story is that september 11 was only one day in a journey that was about far more than that. it was about realizing in a very
different way my life, which was radically transformed in an instant, but the transformation that took place, beyond the physical, was a mental one that, i think, has allowed me to be a better person. in a world wounded by tragedy -- illness, disease, or within our families. although we can be touched by it, i refused to be held by it. i think finding that unmeasured strength in all of us delivered me to a much better place in my life. tavis: it is a powerful book that everybody is talking about. there are so many 9/11 remembrances as we commemorate and celebrate this 10th anniversary. this one is the one that everybody is talking about. it is called "unmeasured manning. it is an honor to have you again on this program. it is good to see you.
take you for the book and thank you for coming on the show with us. >> thank you very much. tavis: up next, blake mycoskie, founder of toms shoes. they provide a pair of shoes to a needy child. stay with us. tavis: in 2006, blake mycoskie had a unique idea for a business model. start a for-profit shoe company that would help provide shoes to children in need around the world. the result was toms shoes, which is their native more than two million pairs of shoes to kids in the world over. his new book is called "star something that matters," which he has certainly done. the obvious question when you talk to a guy named blake, why is it called toms shoes?
>> i think that is a good place to start. most people call me tom now. [laughter] when we started i said, if we can sell a pair of shoes today, we will give away a pair of shoes tomorrow. we were going tong call it "tomorrow's issues per "which could not fit that on the back of a tag. shoes: these are thoms you have on now. >> i wear them pretty much every day. tavis: did you have any idea at this idea would birds in the way that it had? >> i had gone to argentina on vacation. i was not looking to start a business. originally the goal was to help to win the 50 kids. i talk about that -- 250 kids. i talk about that in the book. the idea of starting small is very powerful.
they would wear out of the issues in four or five months. will sell another 250 there and give them another pair and that we can keep them i issues we sold 10,000 pairs in my apartment the first summer. tavis: as a business model, for those watching, how does one make money? you are a for-profit business. how do you make money when every time you sell something you give something away? >> that is a very good question. the thing that makes us unique compared to all the other shoe companies i know of is that we do not do any traditional advertising. think of a big shoe company that hires professional athletes, does tv commercials, does billboards, sponsoring sports teams -- we rely on our community. when you are wearing a pair of
toms and people say what are the issues, they tell a story. by the customer doing the marketing for us, we save, -- , we can commit millions of dollars a year to giving it away. tavis: will customers ever be able to find out what happens to the pair of shoes that day caused to be debated? >> it is kind of my dream to link the exact customer. we just gave away our 2 million pair of shoes. it would be cool to take those people and linked them to a specific child. what we do do, we are going on trips to the field all the time. which tape vendors, friends, family, and customers with us. we are able to group. you bought shoes in the last six months, this is the work we are doing. last year around the holidays as a kind of a thank you to our committee, we gave out giving
reports. it outlined all the countries we are giving in and why. that gave the customers an opportunity to see the work being done. we are doing the same thing with i eyeware. everytime we sell a pair of sunglasses, we are either giving prescription glasses or giving an eye surgery or i treatment. we just had our first group in cambodia and nepal. they can see. people have had their sight restored. tavis: tell me about making shoes. i have a pair of toms shoes. tell me how you affordably can make shoes that allow you to do the kind of philanthropy you do around the world. >> i was always lucky rather than good. i was lucky in i chose a very
simple issue to make. it is basically a piece of canvas draped over a rubber soles. there is not a lot of complexity in making these shoes. the key in making shoes and make them affordable is to not use a lot of style. you can look at another shoe co. and compare us to other companies, there are hundreds of different styles. toms may only have 25 or 50 styles. i am talking about colors. maybe only five or six styles of shoes. if you limit the number of shoes you are producing, it greatly reduces your cost because they are not having to change out parts, waste time, and all of that. tavis: what is the range of price? >> our kids' shoes start at $38. adult shoes sell for $44 up to $75. most of our shoes are in the $50 range.
tavis: this inspiration thing obviously runs in your family. i was reading about your mother. >> my mother is amazing. tavis: tell me about your mama. >> it was fun to tell the story about my mother and facing your fears. anyone who was to start, whether it is a local event to volunteer in your community, a business, or a new initiative within your company, the first thing was the ball have is fear. my mother back in 1985 wrote a book. she had high cholesterol. she found out for some doctors in texas that by lowering the fat in her diet that she would lure her cholesterol. she started making recipes that tasted good and, sure enough, or cholesterol went way down and she wanted to share it. i am kind of following after her in return -- in writing this book. she wrote this book literally in our house. she bought eight were processor at wal-mart. had no formal writing experience.
did not graduate college. she went to sell publish it with my dad and made a really bad choice about the publisher. they lost all their money in this. she was horrified at the fact that they took out a loan to do this. it was a very big thing for my parents to do. basically they had nothing to show for it. when she decided to go back and do it again, because everyone loved the content, she was really scared. she overcame that fear, self published it, and sold 300,000 copies before she ever had a publisher. i do not know anyone who has done that. she did not have a new york publisher. she had all the major publishing houses flying to arlington, texas to have coffee with her and find out how in the world she was selling this many copies out of her house. i remember packing a box to send copies to walmart day after day. but in the books in there and putting the tape on. tavis: what did you take from
that? >> the first thing i did is i probably drop out of college too early. probably to my dad's dismay. i realized you did not need a college degree or formal experience to start something you are passionate about. i think i get my entrepreneurial spirit from my mother. i was just 15 years old when this was going on. seeing her literally put her passion and heart into something does he believe in and then becoming one of the best-selling authors of the '90s in the cookbook category, which is incredibly competitive, really inspired me. that is why i started being an entrepreneur at a young age. i think, specifically, but to my parents. my father is a doctor. that is where i kind of got the desire to assume the responsibility bid if you have been blessed, it is really important to give back and to do it in a way that will help other people tavi.
tavis: do you think in the world where we live today, a world that obviously has, to my mind, at least, so much skepticism and cynicism. people are jaded eye in so many ways. i wonder whether or not you still think it is possible to start something that really matters, even today. >> one of the things that made that exact question so reported to me -- the book is not just toms story, it is the story of entrepreneurs who started something that is significant to life. it is really important that i only really feature new companies. all of these companies in all these nonprofit organizations have all been started with in the last five or seven years. in a time where most people have said it is not a good time to start a business, we have had a
recession, we've had problems -- i think these stories will inspire people to see that sometimes when you are in a time of economic turmoil, it is a great opportunity. big companies and other people are pulled back. they are fearful. that is what the important things right to the stories of wanted to feature, i wanted to make sure there were recent stories and that all the people had no experience. that is one of the things bourse -- most people are concerned about when they want to start experience. i chose people who, like myself, had no experience before they started their organization or their initiative. tavis: every company as a ceo, a cfo, a coo. toms has a csg -- a chief suq giver. you have done it with shoes.
-- chief shoe giver. with every purchase of this book, a new book will be provided to a child in need. good to have you. >> thank you so much. tavis: the new book is called "star something that matters." that is our show tonight. until then, good night from l.a. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with legendary opaer star, jessye norman on her latest live performance. that is next time. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where wal-mart stands together with your community to make every day better.
>> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, help tavis improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] [captioning made possible by kcet public television]